Last Friday the Herald ran my letter in response to Heart of the City’s Alex Swney’s opinion piece:
Alex Swney deserves a round of applause for differentiating between the need for a party location for the Rugby World Cup and the longer term needs of a cruise ship terminal and an integrated plan for a broader city waterfront.
For once, passenger transport should also be an integral part of town planning. From the ferry terminals and Britomart in downtown Auckland to the new Wynyard Quarter is a distance of about a kilometre, too far for many people to consider walking.
A light rail system linking Britomart with the Wynard Quarter and the existing employment centres in the Viaduct would be a unique point of difference for the precinct. Heritage trams, capable of running on the same tracks, could also add to the character.
This could easily be achieved for less than half the cost of refurbishing a building that ultimately few people could end up using.
Mr Swney mentions that a restored bascule bridge can accommodate street cars “in the future”, but if we are serious about doing something truly visionary and world-class, we need to plan for light rail now to avoid the cost of redoing street foundation work and the laying of the necessary infrastructure.
Hopefully Auckland City will get the message on this one. Everyone I speak to agrees that this is a great idea.